Harrison Barnes, Mavs topple LeBron James, Love-less Cavs, 104-97

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DALLAS (AP) — Harrison Barnes scored 24 points and the Dallas Mavericks knocked off a title contender for the second straight night, beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-97 on Monday.

Wesley Matthews had 21, and rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell scored a career-high 19 in the second game of a 10-day contract, a night after hitting clinching free throws in the final seconds of a win at Southwest Division-leading San Antonio.

James had 23 points and Kyrie Irving scored 18 – but just one between them in the fourth quarter – for the defending champs, who will be without fellow All-Star Kevin Love for Wednesday’s game against Minnesota because of recurring back spasms.

The team announced the update during the game on Love, who didn’t make the trip.

The Mavericks won for the first time after nine losses on the second night of back-to-backs, against the team that beat them by 38 in November. That was the largest winning margin of the season for the Cavaliers and the most lopsided loss for Dallas.

Ferrell, who shares an alma mater with Dallas owner Mark Cuban (Indiana), hit a 3 and a driving layup to give the Mavericks their biggest lead at 102-85.

At the next timeout, with the Cavaliers down by 15, coach Tyronn Lue pulled James and Irving after they had each missed their only two shots of the fourth quarter. They were a combined 2 of 14 from 3-point range and had 11 of Cleveland’s 17 turnovers. Dallas had just nine.

The Cavaliers were showing signs of settling down, winning two straight after a tumultuous eight-game stretch that included six losses and James questioning whether the front office was satisfied with one title.

But Cleveland fell behind for good early in the second quarter after a couple of dunks from James, who had nine rebounds and nine assists, and two twisting layups from Irving helped them wipe out a nine-point deficit in the first quarter.

TIP-INS:

Cavaliers: The Cavaliers dropped to 3-6 on the second night of back-to-backs and 3-3 without Love. … Channing Frye scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, with three 3-pointers.

Mavericks: Barned had a season-high 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. … Seth Curry scored 16 points, and Dwight Powell had 14 points and eight rebounds. … C Andrew Bogut was out again with a right hamstring strain after playing just eight minutes a night earlier in San Antonio. He had played the past three games after missing the previous six.

 

Russell Westbrook scores most points ever in triple-double, 57

AP Photo/John Raoux
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Russell Westbrook led a double-digit comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Been there done, that.

Westbrook hit a defining buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Been there done, that.

Westbrook posted a historic triple-double. Been there, done that.

All three in one game?

That’s a new level for Westbrook, who lifted the Thunder to a 114-106 win over the Magic tonight while posting an incredible stat line: 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

James Harden scored 53 in a triple-double just this season, and Westbrook has already one-upped that record.

This MVP race is one for the ages.

Russell Westbrook’s 3-pointer caps incredible Thunder comeback, send Magic game to OT (video)

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The Thunder trailed the Magic by 21 points in the second half and 14 points midway through the fourth quarter.

Russell Westbrook capped the incredible comeback with this 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

This becoming the norm for Oklahoma City.

NBA: Timberwolves got away with key late foul in win over Pacers

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Paul George expressed extreme dismay after the Pacers’ loss to the Timberwolves last night — the latest cause for concern in Indiana with its biggest star just one season from free agency.

But perhaps George wouldn’t have sounded so disillusioned if that game featured correct officiating down the stretch.

Minnesota’s Kris Dunn got away with fouling Jeff Teague by disrupting the Pacers guard’s speed/quickness/balance rhythm with 21.6 seconds left, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Dunn (MIN) makes contact to Teague’s (IND) arm that affects his SQBR and causes him to lose control of the ball.

Because the Timberwolves were in the penalty, a correct would’ve sent Teague — who’s making 86% of his free throws this season and 84% for his career — to the line. He would’ve had two attempts to build on Indiana’s two-point lead.

Instead, he forced an off-balance shot, which Minnesota rebounded. Ricky Rubio drew a shooting foul on a 3-pointer on the other end, and his three free throws lifted the Timberwolves to a 115-114 win.

The two-minute report featured a few other missed calls: George getting away with pushing off then Wiggins getting away with fouling George on a possession where George missed anyway, Andrew Wiggins getting away with a travel on a possession where Minnesota turned the ball over anyway. But those were effectively wash’s. Dunn’s uncalled foul was the one of consequence — especially if it contributes, even in a small way, to George’s exit from the Pacers.

Edmond Sumner declares for NBA draft despite torn ACL

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Edmond Sumner has grown about five inches since high school.

That has helped turn the 6-foot-5 Xavier point guard into an intriguing NBA prospect — but also seemingly contributed to physical complications. Sumner missed nearly all of his freshman year with knee tendinitis. Then, after a promising second season and start to his third, he tore his ACL in January.

Still, he’s entering the NBA draft.

Sumner:

Rick Broering of Musketeer Report:

Like with Duke’s Harry Giles, medical testing will be huge with Sumner. But at least Giles ended the season on the court. Sumner might not be healthy at all during the pre-draft process.

Sumner looked like a borderline first-round pick before the injury. This probably pushes him into the second round.

His long strides provide impressive speed and quickness, and he’s still shifty. Add quality court vision, and his ability to drive by defenders is even more valuable.

A 6-foot-8 wingspan and good lateral mobility also help make him a quality defender.

But it’s also concerning that so much of his positives could be undermined by his knee issues, especially considering his unreliable jumper. If Sumner can’t move like he did before getting hurt, I don’t see how he sticks in the NBA.

If Sumner’s knees check out, it’s worth rolling the dice on him and hoping his jumper develops. He might even be OK without shooting range, though that’d lower his ceiling considerably.

Again, though, the first thing is examining his knees.